Immersing himself in alternate lifestyles and long, hilarious experiments (usually with himself the guinea pig), writer A.J. Jacobs tests the limits of behavior, customs, culture, knowledge — and his wife's sense of humor.

Why you should listen

A.J. Jacobs' writings stand at the intersection of philosophy, Gonzo journalism and performance art. Stubbornly curious and slyly perceptive, he takes immersive learning to its irrational and profoundly amusing extreme -- extracting wisdom and meaning after long stints as a self-styled guinea pig. For his widely circulated Esquire article, My Outsourced Life, he explored the phenomenon of outsourcing by hiring a team in Bangalore, India to take care of every part of his life -- from reading his emails to arguing with his wife to reading bedtime stories to his own son. A previous article, I Think You're Fat, chronicled a brief, cringe-inducing attempt to live his life in Radical Honesty, telling all the truth, all the time.

Jacobs is author of The Know-It-All, which documents the year he spent reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z, uncovering both funny and surprising factoids but also poignant insight into history and human nature. In 2007 he released The Year of Living Biblically, he attempted to follow every single rule in the Bible as literally as possible for an entire year. His latest book, My Life as an Experiment, is a collection of numerous personal experiments including living according to George Washington's rules of conduct, outsourcing every single task to India, and posing as a woman on an online dating site. 

He is a recovering serial book blurber.

What others say

"A. J. Jacobs has written about the Bible in a manner that is brilliantly funny but unerringly respectful, learned but goofy, deeply personal yet highly relevant. I am covetous and wish him smited." — Mary Roach, author, Bonk

A.J. Jacobs’ TED talks

A.J. Jacobs on the TED Blog

My year of living biblically: A.J. Jacobs on

July 17, 2008

Speaking at the most recent EG conference, author, philosopher, prankster and journalist A.J. Jacobs talks about the year he spent living biblically — following the rules in the Bible as literally as possible. (Recorded December 2007 in Los Angeles, California. Duration: 17:40.) Watch A.J. Jacobs’s 2007 talk from the EG conference on, where you […]

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Quotes from A.J. Jacobs

A loud noise will get your fight-or-flight response going. This, over the years, can cause real cardiovascular damage.
A.J. Jacobs
TEDMED 2011 • 855K views Jan 2012
Funny, Informative
The World Health Organization … estimated that 1.6 million years of healthy living are lost every year in Europe because of noise pollution.
A.J. Jacobs
TEDMED 2011 • 855K views Jan 2012
Funny, Informative